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  • Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover?

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports52 mins ago

    The Chicago Blackhawks are the hunted in these Stanley Cup playoffs, which is really no different from their position throughout the regular season. That’s what happens when you win the silver chalice, hockey’s Holy Grail, the previous season. Not only did they win it all, they enjoyed a record-breaking regular season, too. But that was last year.

    Now, the question becomes: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover as they look to defend their championship?

    It should help Chicago’s cause that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are expected to be ready for when the post-season begins, as the Blackhawks open up against the St. Louis Blues in the first round. This best-of-seven series begins Thursday in St. Louis.

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    Thu, Apr 17
    5:00 PM PDT
    Chicago at St. Louis
    Preview Game
  • Flyers' Ray Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports58 mins ago

    In the back of his mind, Ray Emery knew there was a chance he would be in net for the playoffs. His suspicions were confirmed Wednesday, when Flyers coach Craig Berube announced that Emery would start Game 1 of the team's first-round series against the New York Rangers Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

    Steve Mason will not make the trip to New York. He remains day to day with an upper-body injury. Berube called the decision "precautionary."

    “He’s out,” Berube said. "He’s not 100 percent. I said if he weren’t 100 percent, he would not play."

    Mason was injured Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, didn't play in that game's third period and didn’t suit up for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Carolina Hurricanes. He practiced for just 15 minutes Tuesday, and wasn’t even present at Skate Zone for Wednesday's session.

    Berube said only that Mason "didn't feel good." There's no way to know yet whether Mason could return for Game 2 Sunday in New York, he said.

    “It’s part of the game sometimes," Berube said. "Things happen. We have other people. We’re a team. That doesn’t change."

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  • Jackie Bradley leads Red Sox past White Sox in 14 innings

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports1 hr ago

    In each of their previous six games, they had failed to score more than four runs. In the series opener, it was all they could do to muster four hits, only one after the fourth inning. So when the Red Sox came out in the first inning Wednesday night and started driving the ball all over U.S. Cellular Field, there was reason to believe that, finally, they were ready to end the offensive drought.

    "We thought that maybe this was the night we'd break out,'' said John Farrell after a 14-inning, 6-4 win had been secured.

    The inning was filled with all kinds of firsts. The first RBI of the season for Xander Bogaerts, who singled home leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia (double). First hit with runners in scoring position for Bogaerts this season. And finally, the first first-inning run of the season.

    But after David Ortiz followed the single by Bogaerts with a single of his own, it was more of the same.

    More and more, on and on.

    After the three straight hits, it was if the Red Sox had used up their nightly allotment.

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    Thu, Apr 17
    5:10 PM PDT
    Boston at Chi White Sox
    Preview Game
  • 76ers coach Brett Brown ‘nervous’ ahead of draft lottery

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports1 hr ago

    There is a chance the Sixers could have three top-10 rookies on their roster next season.

    Nerlens Noel is the one we already know. He was last year’s sixth overall pick but because he took the entire season to recover from knee surgery, he retains his rookie status.

    Blake Griffin was selected No. 1 overall in 2009 but never played a game because he too was recovering from knee surgery.

    Griffin made his NBA debut in the 2010-11 season and at the end of it was named Rookie of the Year.

    By virtue of the Sixers having the second-worst record in the NBA this season, they will have a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. They have a 55.8 percent chance of getting a top-three pick and can do no worse than No. 5

    The Pelicans' first-round pick belongs to the Sixers (via the Jrue Holiday trade), so long as it is not in the top five. New Orleans has a 1.1 percent chance at the top pick and a 4.0 percent chance at a top-three pick.

    All the mathematical possibilities and how much one right or wrong bounce of a ping-pong ball could impact the Sixers' future is getting to head coach Brett Brown.

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    Wed, Apr 16
    Philadelphia100 - 87Miami
    Game Recap
  • Blackhawks prepping for playoff-beard mania

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports1 hr ago

    Role players with playoff beards: They’re usually responsible for doing the nitty-gritty work, playing the grinding game. It can be a dirty job, but someone on the team has to do it. But in the playoffs, those guys become pivotal. For the Chicago Blackhawks last season, their role players, those third- and fourth-line guys, had some big moments and goals. This postseason, those players could be counted on again. Brandon Bollig, part of a fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith that’s been together most of this season, is ready for the opportunity. “We’re looked upon to provide defensive presence and shut-down role playing against other teams’ top lines. That’s huge for us, especially with the skill we have up front and the fact we have so much (of it),” Bollig said. “Our line, our main focus is playing well defensively and playing well in our end.”

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  • Ducks hold off spirited Stars comeback, take 1-0 series lead

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports1 hr ago

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    At the 30 minute mark of tonight’s game, the Ducks looked like they’d cruise to victory. But that’s why they play the whole 60. After building up a four-goal lead, the Ducks held on as the Stars rallied to come within one before ultimately losing 4-3 in Wednesday’s series opener at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

    Through the first half of tonight’s game, the home team dominated. Anaheim scored three times in the opening frame, the first coming just 1:23 in when Kyle Palmieri put a backhand past Kari Lehtonen. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf made it 2-0 at the 12 minute mark, and Mathieu Perreault pushed the lead to three with just 30 seconds remaining in the frame, scoring the first of two Anaheim power play goals.

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  • NHL playoffs: Canadiens’ Gallagher returns after taking puck to throat

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports1 hr ago

    Hockey players tend to fight through grueling injuries all season long, but with the playoffs in motion, it’s time for them to really shake off some scary stuff. Ignoring players shaking off injuries heading into Game 1, Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher might be the first truly impressive tough guy, as he didn’t miss much time after taking a puck to the throat.

    -- James O'Brien, ProHockeyTalk

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  • Weise gives Canadiens 1-0 series lead over Loghting with OT win

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports1 hr ago

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    The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning gave hockey fans plenty of what was expected (great work from Thomas Vanek and Steven Stamkos), yet the game was just as much about the unexpected. If the frequently wide-open pace wasn’t surprising enough, Dale Weise broke the star-scoring narrative by notching the 5-4 overtime game-winner to give Montreal a 1-0 series lead.

    Let’s take a look back at how the contest came down to Weise’s surprising game-winner.

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  • NHL playoffs: Ryan Getzlaf bloodied after taking puck to face

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports1 hr ago

    Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had to be pleased with his team’s 4-3 win over Dallas in Game 1 on Wednesday, but probably wasn’t too happy with how it ended. After nearly blowing a 4-0 lead, the Ducks were scrambling at the end of the third period to prevent the Stars from tying it up — which led to Getzlaf taking a Tyler Seguin shot to the face with 16 seconds remaining.

    -- Mike Halford, ProHockeyTalk

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  • Penguins outlast Blue Jackets, take Game 1

    NBC Sports at NBC on Yahoo Sports1 hr ago

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    Close, but no cigar for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Seeking the first-ever playoff win in franchise history, Columbus seemed to have the Pittsburgh Penguins on the ropes in Game 1 with a 3-1 lead, but Pittsburgh fought its way back with three unanswered goals to win 4-3, taking a 1-0 series lead in the process.

    Even in defeat, the Blue Jackets still made a little franchise history while also showing that they can compete with the established East power. Jack Johnson‘s 1-0 goal gave Columbus its first lead in a playoff game in franchise history .

    So there’s that.

    Overall, the Blue Jackets made a pretty convincing argument that they might make the Penguins sweat in this series, managing a 34-32 shot advantage while establishing a physical presence and a relentless, heavy forecheck.

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